The black voters who did not support Joe Biden in the Democratic Primary – which ended definitely on April 13 with Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of the front-runner – rankle at the notion that black voters are a monolith. To be clear: there are many black voters, not one black vote.
Even in Missouri, where Biden won 60 percent of the vote with 21 other Democratic candidates on the ballot and beat Sanders by almost 170,000 votes, Sanders garnered a substantial number of black voters. According to National Election Pool exit polls, 24 percent of black voters in Missouri chose Sanders. Given that Sanders crushed Biden among younger Missouri voters (age 18-29) by a 70-25 percent margin, according to these exit polls, it stands to reason that younger black voters remain to be won over by the Democratic nominee. The Biden campaign and the DNC have less than 200 days before the November 3 General Election to win them over.
Soon after Sanders endorsed Biden – the timing, to be sure, was deliberate – former President Barack Obama finally endorsed his former running mate and vice president. The crux of his argument bears repeating and putting into action.
“Our country’s future hangs on this election. And it won’t be easy. The other side has a massive war chest. The other side has a propaganda network with little regard for the truth. On the other hand, pandemics have a way of cutting through a lot of noise and spin to remind us of what is real, and what is important. This crisis has reminded us that government matters. It’s reminded us that good government matters. That facts and science matter. That the rule of law matters. That having leaders who are informed, and honest, and seek to bring people together rather than drive them apart – those kind of leaders matter,” Obama said.
“In other words, elections matter. Right now, we need Americans of goodwill to unite in a great awakening against a politics that too often has been characterized by corruption, carelessness, self-dealing, disinformation, ignorance, and just plain meanness. And to change that, we need Americans of all political stripes to get involved in our politics and our public life like never before.”
Even with the support of Sanders and Obama, Biden and the DNC have much hard work to do in winning more progressive voters over to an establishment figure (albeit an establishment figure who helped an historic black change agent win the White House and govern ably). They need to remind voters of the major improvements President Biden would bring in crucial areas such as the federal judiciary, voting rights, environmental protections, health care, union organizing, consumer protections, access to higher education, abortion rights, Wall Street regulations, Social Security, affordable housing, urban policy, African policy, immigration policy, police accountability, mass incarceration, affirmative action, LGTBQIA+ rights, civil liberties, income inequality and racial divisiveness.
Whatever his limitations, the election of Biden would bring an immediate improvement in all of these areas of our lives and more. He also would inject decency and sanity into our national life in our most powerful institution. If we had a president who wasn’t forcing states to compete for life-saving supplies during a pandemic and encouraging ignorant people to rise up against public health officials while a dangerous virus with no known vaccine or cure continues to spread – if only to stop the insanity and damage Trump is doing during the COVID-19 pandemic, we must organize to vote him out of office.
Let’s hear Obama one more time and hear him well: “Elections matter. Right now, we need Americans of goodwill to unite in a great awakening against a politics that too often has been characterized by corruption, carelessness, self-dealing, disinformation, ignorance, and just plain meanness.” Right now, we need all Americans of goodwill – and that includes every Democrat or Independent who voted for Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris or any other promising candidate from this crowded field – to unite and work to defeat the most corrupt, careless, self-dealing, lying, ignorant, dangerous and just plain mean president in American history.